23 January - 20 May 2005

I want to start the news for this period by telling about two trips that happened during the last one that I did not include in that letter. The first trip was to Placerville, CA for John & Janis's Annual Christmas Dinner on December 13th. This was my Christmas! They have been kind enough to invite me to their "bicycling friends" dinner for the last 11-12 (?) years and I have been fortunate enough to attend most of them while in the United States. There were 3-4 times that it was "difficult" to get there because of storms but this year was very clear and almost warm in the Sierra with Placerville having spring-like weather. Once again a fine dinner with good conversation and good friends was experienced.

The second trip was to Concord, CA on December 22nd for another MINI recall, this time for a fuel tank emission diagnostic problem. I also had them fix the driver side window problem that had not been fixed on my last visit. I was up and on the road EARLY. The service advisor that check me in was very surprised and astonished that I was from Reno and had arrived only a few minutes after 8:00 am - it is a little over 200 mile drive. The recall problem was fixed by "reflashing" (loading new software) the ECU (the computer in the car that controls the engines operations). I don't know if it fixed the intended recall problem but what I did notice over the next few weeks is that the cold start problem that I have had since the car was new has now been fixed. I just love it when unintended consequences turn out to be beneficial rather that causing additional problems! They had all the work done by noon and I was on my way back home. The weather was still very nice so I decided to go back via some of the foothill roads to CA Hwy 49 and then US 50 through Carson City. Very pleasant "motoring" home but longer and not nearly as fast as the morning "drive".

I was going to do another trip to MINI of Concord on April 20th in an effort to get the side window problem resolved. I had talked about the window problem on my very first visit, back in 2003, but they could not get the window to do what I said it was doing. The problem was a vibrating from side to side as the window is raised. Later it developed a rattle inside the door when the door was opened or closed. That seems to have been corrected by the work done on December 22nd. However, the vibration when raising the window is back again, it does not do it as it goes down but may make a screeching sound (like fingernails on a chalkboard). I have determined that, as strange as it may seem, it is temperature related. The last week of Feb and the first two weeks of Mar brought spring to Northern Nevada with cold nights and mornings but warming to the 60s and low 70s by afternoon. It is when the temperatures get in that range that the window will start to exhibit is vibrating motion, no problem early in the morning when its in the 30s. I said goig to make the trip because on the May 19th it was snowing heavy in the Sierra and we had scattered flurryies her in Reno. I therefore called and canceled my appointment and will try again in July to get it fixed.

What I did do is take a three day mini-vacation (pun intended) with MINI & Teardrop to the Mason Valley Wildlife Refuge just north of Yerington, NV. I got there around noon on the Apr 21st and stayed three nights. Spent my time triking the farm roads between the Refuge and Yerington which included a 6 mile rountrip on the sand/gravel washboard road into the Refuge campground. It gave me a good chance to test how I was set up for my trip in June and make changes in what I was going to take. I had considered buying a "range tepi" tent for a trike garage when camped but remembered that I had a two person Sierra Design tent that just might serve the purpose. When I got home I set up just the footprint and rainfly and my Catrike fits inside perfectly. Saved some money that I didn't have to spend and it looks like a good solution. The new tiedown arrangement that I now have worked just great, the washboard road giving it a good test.

I told my boss on December 13, 2004 that I was going to quit work after I turned 62 in April of 2005. I offered to quit then if he wanted to replace me or I would work until turning 62. He said he wanted me to stay and I did but had regrets about doing so. The only person in the entire Management "Team", and I use that term loosly, that I had any respect for was my boss. If it had not been for him I would not have made it to December 13, 2004. So, after applying for Social Security and making plans for my June trip I told him that my last day would be May 20th. We agreed that the best trainig period for my replacement would be a month and I could go over the month-end process. My replacement, from Accountemps, came in on April 25th & 26th and then called in sick. I convinced my boss to get another replacement by Fri the 29th, even if the first one came back which I doubted, I was convinced that he wouldn't work out. The second replacement made it through May 20th, with only 2 1/2 days sick, but I am not convinced she will still be there by the time I get back from my June trip. After almost 3weeks of seeing the job done, writing copious notes, and doing the job she still needs someone to stand over her and point to what she needs to do next. The month-end process she only saw and wrote notes, but if those notes are like all her others she will be hoplessly lost the first week of June. I told my boss that he was going to have problems and he said he would continue to look for another person but he is "stuck" for now. I'm just glad that I through.

I have discontinued my Internet Service for the month of June, however any Yahoo email messages will still be accepted. I might be able to access Yahoo and read them while I'm on my trip but won't try to reply until I return home in July.

That it for this time, I'll be writing about my June trip to the Minden, NE International Teardrop Gathering in my next Long Letter.